Different types of black pickguard materials
We have well over 120 different sheet materials available and it can be intimidating to select one that’ll refresh your guitar or add that final touch of class.
Black pickguards go well with almost every colour of guitar- and with 11 different shades, we have a huge variety to choose from!
Each one is either slightly or completely different, but by virtue of being black they’ll look good with almost everything.
The variety of scratchplate sheet materials we offer can be a little intimidating at first (SO MANY CHOICES!) but don’t worry- I’ll break them down for you now so you can see the difference between each one and find the perfect pickguard for your project!
1-ply black (thin) scratchplate material
This one’s classy, simple, and understated. At only 1.5mm thick it’s well-suited for discrete truss rod covers and basic shapes- perhaps less so for load-bearing applications, for example guards where guitar or bass controls attach to the guard directly.
Classy, simple, understated, and a slightly higher profile than the thin version- this edition of 1-ply black is 2.2mm thick and thus better suited for control mounting, and looks better with a 45-degree bevel than the thinner version as more of the bevelled edge will be on display.
1-ply matt black
This one’s popular with metal players, but we think it looks good in a whole load more contexts- it’s still simple, but the matt textured finish is far less reflective and feels like a more premium material. Over time, if your hand rubs against it a lot it’ll polish and become glossy in certain places- naturally occurring ageing which shows off just how much you use your instrument of choice!
This one’s nice and thin again- 1.5mm- which lends it perfectly for trussrod covers, particularly on Gibson-style instruments. Why not combine it with engraving, to have a logo or some text cut through to the white layer? Classic Gibson look- and they say only a Gibson is good enough…
It’s the most popular of the series as far as off-the-shelf guitars are concerned- classic sandwich construction with a layer of bright white material placed in between two layers of black material. The whole thing is only 2.3mm thick so the ‘industry standard’ thickness. It can look fantastic as a direct replacement for guitars which shipped with a 3ply white guard- the inverse of this material.
This one is a personal favourite of mine- it’s like 3-ply black, but the middle layer has an aged, off-white appearance. This gives the impression that the guard has aged naturally in sunlight over time, and is the perfect choice for instruments more than 5 years old- it looks especially good on 70’s style fender guitars, as 3-ply black was used commonly back then, and all those guitars now have a lovely creamy middle layer… I’ve one on an old white p-bass, and the middle layer matches the aged white paint perfectly.
It’s like 3-ply black… but extra fancy! One more layer of white! The universe is crafted on balance… so why wouldn’t you balance black and white in equal measures? This looks especially nice on SG-style guitars and basses, but can be extremely classy on other guitars that benefit from an extra stripe around the edge of the scratchguard.
Exclusively sold by us! The material of choice for classic Gibson guitars, 5-ply looks authentically badass on SG-style guitars and basses, the fifth layer of material re-asserting the dominance of black material in the overall sandwich. This works a treat with guitars which feature a floating ‘guard- think Epiphone Dot, Gibson 335, Gibson Les Paul etc etc… the fifth layer is particularly noticeable when suspended in midair and lends authenticity to those guitars it embellishes.
It’s really dark black. And glossy. And tough. These are all reasons that David Gilmour chose it for the custom guard for his Black Strat, and Brian May chose to make the guard for his original Red Special from it. In addition to the star power from those two big-name endorsers, Perspex engraves and infills REALLY neatly, and paint infills in particular look spectacular against the blank, black canvas it provides.
The original choice of Leo Fender back in 1949 for his prototype solid-body electric guitar, and then the material of choice for his Esquire, Broadcaster, and Telecaster models through the 1950s. It’s a retro form of plastic which is EXTREMELY tough and has a grain of sorts, in addition to often having construction marks to add a pre-relic’ed look. This is well worth considering if you’re keen on a material more ‘rustic’ or ‘traditional’ than the other 1-ply options we offer- and especially if you own a telecaster with a natural finish.
It’s classic aluminium sheet, but with a twist- one side of it is coated in a lovely dark black colour. This is made by attaching particles to the surface via electrolysis- which builds up a coloured, protective layer via an electrostatic bath. Gold is the classic colour for anodised guards, but this works really well on guitars for metalheads, as they’re like 1-ply black… but metal! And what could be more metal than actual metal?!
4-ply black pearl
We’ve all seen white pearloid sheet materials, but they have an inverse that’s far rarer- black pearl! It’s dark, it’s kinda reflective, and it features a non-printed, bona-fide celluloid layer with the pattern on it! Celluloid is a classic material, but by enrobing thin layer of it in layers of modern plastic we’re able to mitigate some of the issues which can arise as the material degrades over time.
It’s not for everyone, but there’s no denying it- black glitter under stage lights is guaranteed to get people’s attention! It just looks fantastic when the light hits it and splinters off in different directions. Not for the faint-hearted or for those that don’t want all eyes in the room to be on them!
Black and Silver Paisley
This stuff is the ultimate in scratchplate technology. Constructed in Japan from multiple black and silver patterned layers, the depth of this material could enslave a traveller for a lifetime… or at least make your guitar look pretty cool. We import sheets of this from Japan one at a time, making it the ULTIMATE in luxury scratchplate technology.
Charity shops are full of Cliff Richard, marching band, and vaguely-Christian-sounding records that, let’s face it: will never, ever be listened to again. So we do our bit for the environment by upcycling them into guitar and bass scratchplates.
It doesn’t have to be one of those though- we can make a guard from any vinyl record you send us, provided of course your pickguard will fit within a 12-inch radius circle. These are fantastic for music fans and display guitars- and of course we can use picture disks and colours vinyl too if black is too restrained for your liking. Just don’t expect to ever be able to listen to it again…
So there’s a dazzling array of materials on offer here at Tiny Tone- and those are just the black ones!
The only thing left to do is pick out the perfect scratchplate material for you! But of course there’s no ‘correct’ answer, or ‘ideal’ scratchplate for any guitar- you need to go with your gut and choose the one that you think best works for YOU- just because Leo Fender chose bakelite in 1949, doesn’t mean you need to in 2023 and beyond!
We have sample images of all the materials mentioned above in our gallery HERE so you can see for yourself which one will work best for you- have a look and imagine how they’ll all look on your guitar collection!